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Parti Québécois wants to toughen up law governing language in the workplace

Parti Québécois Leader Pascal Bérubé speaks during the party's Congrès national extraordinaire on Sunday, November 10, 2019, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.
Parti Québécois Leader Pascal Bérubé speaks during the party's Congrès national extraordinaire on Sunday, November 10, 2019, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Parti Québécois (PQ) interim leader Pascal Bérubé says too many employers are asking prospective employees to know English in order to be hired.

At the National Assembly on Wednesday, Bérubé asked the government to open up Bill 101 and amend it in order to “fix this hole.”

Bérubé is proposing that employers present poof whenever they require English or another language to obtain a position.

“We’re going to clean this thing and make sure no one from Quebec speaking only French will be discriminated against,” Bérubé told reporters.

READ MORE: Fact file: What is Bill 101?

The French language charter currently forbids employers from requiring the use of another language that is not French, unless it’s essential to the job. However, employers don’t have to present any proof.

Bérubé says Quebecers are being discriminated against and have the right to work in their language.

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But critics such as the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) say it’s an unnecessary administrative burden to place on the employer, especially now that the province faces a labour shortage.

“We believe that the legislation that is currently in place is enough and that the government has to focus its efforts on raising awareness rather than legislating,” said CPQ president Yves-Thomas Dorval in a statement.

READ MORE: 40 years ago today, the PQ introduced Bill 101 in Quebec

For the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), it’s an argument that doesn’t need to be had.

“Put your effort into something constructive,” said QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers.

“This is not constructive, it is not good for Quebec. It is bad faith, bad energy language politics which gets us nowhere.”

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says they will look into the proposal.

He added that the minister responsible for the French language, Simon-Jolin-Barrette, is already looking into toughening up the language law.

Potential for new language debate brewing at the National Assembly
Potential for new language debate brewing at the National Assembly